Saturday, 10 March 2012

FC Tokyo Preview

Well hi everybody and welcome back. After the three long months of winter, the Squirrels' 2012 J1 season kicks off on Saturday evening with a home game against FC Tokyo. It's in the genes of most football supporters to be broadly optimistic about their team's chances for the year - hell, nothing's gone wrong yet - and even the gloomiest of Omiya fans like us has to admit that there are a few reasons to be cheerful.

Chief among them are home debuts for what is looking like as many as four new signings, in the shape of left-sided defender Takumi Shimohira, Kosuke Kikuchi in the middle of the back four, central midfielder Carlinhos and left-sided wide man Cho Young Cheol. In other words a significant proportion of the left-hand part of the Omiya team would appear to be brand new for 2012, while at the moment we can hope that Kikuchi and Carlinhos will make a significant improvement to the backbone. Most Ardija supporters will be looking forward to their first real glimpses of Carlinhos and Cho in particular as potential star performers.

Anything to be gloomy about? Okay then, if you insist, here are a couple of things. One, if Rafael is indeed going to start against FC Tokyo, he hasn't taken part in any of the pre-season games. Cho and the other newcomers have had no opportunity at all to play alongside him outside of regular training sessions. Rafael's own preparation for the year can't have been helped by the injury that kept him out of the handful of matches that Jun Suzuki's team did actually play. Not necessarily anyone's fault, but not a great way to start.

Gloomy thing number two. The suggestion is that the right-hand side of the team will be made up of Kazuhiro Murakami in defence and Daigo Watanabe in midfield. If the whole squad is fit, I don't really think that these are players good enough to start the opening game of the season. Murakami is a lot more at home on the left and overall doesn't have the quality or energy of Daisuke Watabe. And if you want a wide midfielder, why not try a proper one like Jun Kanakubo rather than the not-all-that-good-anywhere Watanabe? But anyway, we've got months and months of moaning ahead of us, so let's not peak too soon. Go Squirrels!



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